Connie Hedegaard: "Montreal Protocol has achieved a lot for the ozone layer and for fighting climate change"
Sunday 16 September is International Ozone Day and also marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on protecting the ozone layer. To mark the occasion Connie Hedegaard made the following statement:
"The Montreal Protocol has achieved a lot. The atmospheric concentrations of the man-made chemicals which attack the ozone layer most aggressively are now falling. This is thanks to the phase-out of their production and consumption which is under way. Much remains to be done, but scientific evidence shows the ozone layer should recover fully by the second half of this century provided the Protocol continues to be applied.
The EU has been a leader. We have implemented what has been agreed, and on many occasions we have moved faster in phasing out dangerous substances than the Protocol requires.
Montreal has also done a huge amount to combat climate change. Many ozone-depleting substances are also very powerful greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming, so it is doubly good for the environment that they are being phased out."
In her full statement Commissioner Hedegaard also pointed to the need for agreement as soon as possible on a global phase-down of HFC gases, which are extremely powerful greenhouse gases. She added that the Montreal Protocol held important lessons for a new global climate agreement as it is legally binding and excludes those that refuse to participate from sharing in its benefits.